New Year’s Eve fireworks with altitude (14,000 ft)

From January 2014. (Image: Dave Soldano / Flickr)

Anybody can shoot New Year’s Eve fireworks from the top of a skyscraper or a bridge. The AdAmAn Club in Colorado Springs, Colo., shoots theirs from the top of Pikes Peak — after a two-day climb to the 14,114 ft. summit. This year the intrepid climbers faced some of the coldest temperatures of the year, single digits hovering on either side of 0°F.

I moved to Denver in 2005, yet not until this year did I hear about the AdAmAn Club and their annual Pikes Peak fireworks. These people are my new heros. All that climbing in the snow and cold, 12 miles or so to the summit, just to shoot off fireworks on New Year’s Eve. And winter weather being what it is, there’s no guarantee anyone below will even see the show.

They take the Barr Trail out of Manitou Springs. At the 6.5 mile mark, they spend the night in cabins at Barr Camp. (Good thing, too. The wind chill was approximately -40° that night.) At the top they can stay in the Summit House. Mind you, there’s a road to the top that’s kept open year round. And the fireworks trailer is driven up the road in advance of the hikers’ arrival. But the AdAmAn climbers … climb.

From the AdAmAn press release this year:

Since 1922, the AdAmAn club has made its annual winter trek to the summit of Pikes Peak to fire a midnight blast of fireworks to help the Pikes Peak Region ring in the New Year. The club started when Fred Barr (who built Barr Trail) and four of his adventurous friends (Fred Morath, Ed Morath, Willis Magee and Harry Standley) made a New Year’s Eve trek to the summit. That night they set fire to some of the Cog Railway’s surplus railroad ties. Upon their return to the Springs, they discovered that many had seen their fire.

The resulting buzz inspired them to start what has become a long standing tradition for the Pikes Peak region.

The club adds just one new member each year, hence the name AdAmAn. The capitalized As depict mountains.

Image: AdAmAn website
Image: Eric Supancic
Image: Kin Scott

There are many photos from this year’s hike on the AdAmAn Facebook page (scroll down for three photos of the fireworks), and many, many more of past years on the AdAmAn website. Here’s one of this year’s fireworks (all the above are from previous years):


And here’s one I just found of the fireworks truck/trailer making its way to the summit:


The Colorado Springs Gazette has a gallery of photos of this year’s climbers starting up the mountain.

23 thoughts on “New Year’s Eve fireworks with altitude (14,000 ft)

  1. That’s really someting PT and something I’d love to see, I’ve lived in Sydney more than 40 years,(half my lifetime) and would you believe that I’ve never seen the Sydney Harbour fireworks welcome to a New Year. I’ve seen pictures, once or twice I’ve seen a coverage on TV but I must admit I don’t get excited about fireworks.

    But those I’d love to see, that must be really someting special to admire and the temacity of those happy hikers deserves recognition.

    What a great post to start the 2015 😀

    1. You should get to your own Sydney fireworks at least once. It’s hard to beat fireworks reflected in water. And your show is pretty much the world’s first, isn’t it? Of course, you can always watch the video on YouTube if you don’t like the crowds.

      I still can’t get over these people hiking that mountain just to do fireworks. Especially when they could drive!

      1. That’s dedication PT one can’t help but admire their tenacity and dedication.

        As for our display I’ll give it a miss PT, probably more than a million people carry on like a load of two bob watches, screaming , yelling and drunk, puts me right off I promise you. New Zealand actually gets they’re a couple of hours ahead of us, I think we come 2nd and Japan 3rd, what a trifecta. :mrgreen:

  2. That is not an easy hike. lol… and the drive isn’t for everyone either. Have you driven up there? There’s a few sections of the road that you see nothing but a lot of air off to the side of your car. I don’t think I’ve posted my pix I took from my trip up there 1-1/2 years ago.

    1. I last drove it 2001 or 2002. At the time it had not been paved all the way to the top. At least it’s nice and wide so you don’t have to drive too close to the edge. I hung pretty close to the center and didn’t try admiring the view and it wasn’t bad. It was a piece of cake compared to the Mt. Evans road.

      1. Hmmm… not familiar with Mt Evans Rd. I’m not quite sure what I was expecting, and I enjoyed the drive. I just know people who really freak out on stuff like that. I was quite impressed with the quality of the road. Going down was much more difficult than going up. I was in a mini-van and just had trouble keeping the speed down so was forced to use my brakes way too much. That and the idiot ahead of me didn’t help, either. They were obviously one of those people who freak out and went down at a snail’s pace.

        One of my favorite drives is the Burr Trail to the east of Capitol Reef. Although it cannot compare to the altitude of Pike’s Peak (but then, very few places can), it’s an amazing breathtaking drive – and gravel. It cuts up through the waterpocket fold. It is so hard to take pictures of switchbacks – just cannot seem to capture the depth involved, but this one is pretty good:

        1. I wrote a little bit about the Mt. Evans road in “Driving scared in Colorado.” At the time it was a very narrow, poorly maintained (in places) paved road with no guard rails. Don’t know how it looks now. Much better I hope.

          Those switchbacks are amazing! On gravel I’d sure be cautious on those hairpins. I’ve had the back end skitter out on me on far straighter roads than that (loving my AWD now).

  3. What a great tradition- something added to my ‘do it’ list, to watch, not hike PP for sure! Have driven both mountains many times; more comfortable anywhere on them than trying to survive Atlanta, DC, Philadelphia, NYC, Chicago or LA metro. I drove the OMG rd one time- no desire to repeat! But only a kid on the Million $$ highway. I read your earlier post, too– how horrifying to have no brakes and be downhill in the mountains! Bet it felt as if you wheeled around that corner onto the side street on only 2 wheels! Would never have guessed they keep PP road open all year… may have to give that a try sometime during winter since you see so little stopping at Many Parks Curve in winter at RMNP. (I also so appreciate awd) Thanks for such a cool posting!

    1. I couldn’t believe that in the 9 years I’ve been here, I’d never heard of this. It would be fun to go to the Springs one year, if New Year’s Eve promised to be clear, to see it. I didn’t know that road was open year ’round either until I started reading about AdAmAn. Somewhere they’ve posted some pictures of the trailer being hauled up the road. Not much to see but snow and open space.

      Atlanta has been my benchmark for bad traffic ever since I lived there in ’69-’72. Actually we lived out in Marietta and had to get into downtown Atlanta every day. That’s when I learned that if you’re moving at all, even at 1 mph, you should just relax and enjoy the ride … because there were days there when traffic jammed so badly on the freeways that people got out of their cars and played Frisbee in the median. And try as we might, we could find no better way into town.

      Yeah, that brake burnout was pretty hairy. I’ve been real nervous ever since on long downgrades.

        1. I’m wondering if I might someday shanghai my brother in Boulder to take a trip to that part of the world (that way he can share the driving). Much as he loves Colo., he also raves about SE Utah.

          1. I hate to be pedantic but it can’t be ‘very’ unique. Unique stands alone,and cannot be qualified; thats one of the few things that bugs me, except for Mr Webster of course 🙄

            I apologize if you think I’m being rude I don’t intend to be, I’m not unique when it comes to the use and/or misuse of that delightful word. 😛

          2. I disagree. There are different levels of uniqueness, and using “very” indicates a larger amount of uniqueness. For example, let’s take a 20-mile hike along a road through the midwest in the middle of fields filled with sunflowers. You stop every mile to take in the view. Technically each view is unique. The angle on the horizon may be 1/2 degree different than the previous view; the rolling hill to the right may be 10 feet higher in altitude; and there may be a small grove of trees in the far distance. Yes, each is unique, nearly matching other views along the way, but only slightly unique compared to hundreds of other rolling sunflower fields in the midwest. Now consider the Burr Road view of the switchbacks. This view is very unique in the fact that there is no other view anywhere that comes close to matching to what you see. There may be other switchbacks considered to be more breathtaking, more magnificent, and others more mundane, but the degree of difference between other views and this specific view will vary greatly. Therefore, this view is very unique.

          3. I’m sorry to disagree but I think you’ll find that what I said is correct, the view may be unique but it cannot be very unique

            unique (juːˈniːk)
            1. being the only one of a particular type; single; sole
            2. without equal or like; unparalleled
            3. very remarkable or unusual
            4. (Mathematics) maths
            a. leading to only one result: the sum of two integers is unique.
            b. having precisely one value: the unique positive square root of 4 is 2.
            [C17: via French from Latin ūnicus unparalleled, from ūnus one]
            uˈniquely adv uˈniqueness n
            Usage: Unique is normally taken to describe an absolute state, i.e. one that cannot be qualified. Thus something is either unique or not unique; it cannot be rather unique or very unique. However, unique is sometimes used informally to mean very remarkable or unusual and this makes it possible to use comparatives or intensifiers with it, although many people object to this use
            Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003

          4. Thank you. Did you read the last sentence? It fits perfectly — in two ways:

            “However, unique is sometimes used informally to mean very remarkable or unusual and this makes it possible to use comparatives or intensifiers with it, although many people object to this use.”

            I’m not writing a dissertation here. This is exactly the manner in which I’m using “very unique” (“very unique” = very unusual/remarkable); and you are most definitely objecting to my usage.

          5. I’m guess I’m old-school like Beari. I was taught that unique takes no modifiers. Rather like pregnant. Once can’t be a little pregnant or very pregnant. One either is or isn’t. But I retired 15 years ago and I left school many years before that. I am routinely flummoxed and frustrated by modern usages and changes. In any case, opinions here are welcome and I’m not about criticizing anyone’s use of the language as long as they keep it clean.

... and that's my two cents